Wedding Week: Our Wedding

Hey Everyone! Today is the last day of Wedding Week so I am finally sharing our wedding pictures will you all. Hope you enjoyed the week, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading. Enjoy!

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Location + Catering: Deloach Vineyards 

Photography: George Street Photo and Video

Flowers: Pedy’s Petals

Cake + Dessert Table: Rassasy Cakes

Invitations: Dream Maker Designs

DJ + Sound + Lighting: Crystal Clear Studios

Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: Kennedy Blue in the color “Wine”

Shoes: Nine West

Veil: My mother’s

Hope you enjoyed this week. Thank you for joining me and reading along. 

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Wedding Week: Wine Tasting Bachlorette Party

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Hey Everyone! Welcome back. Today I’m sharing all about my amazing bachelorette party. For my bachelorette party I didn’t want to do the typical Vegas, get drunk and don’t remember what happened the next day kinda thing. Since a lot of my friends were coming from out of town for my wedding, and visiting Sonoma, CA for the first time, I thought it would be a great opportunity to go wine tasting and show them the area where I grew up. For me this was the best way I could think of to spend the day. 

Planning the day 

  • First and foremost, if you have a choice on a time of year to go I would suggest the late summer, early fall right before harvest. This is the best time to go because the vines will be super green and bursting with grapes. If you go any other time most likely there won’t be any grapes and the vines will be bare. 
  • It is better to go on a week day. We went on a Thursday and it was perfect. Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days and in peak season they can get hundreds of visitors each day. You don’t want to have a large group and be fighting other tourists for bar space.
  • Call the winery ahead of time. Not only is this a courtesy to the winery, to let them know you are coming in with a big group, but they can prepare for your arrival and have all the wine and glasses ready for you before you even get there. They might even set aside a special section or seat you at a special table if you have enough guests.
  • Don’t forget to plan time for food. You will definitely need some food to soak up all of the alcohol you will be drinking. There are plenty of restaurant options and some wineries even have picnic areas so you can bring your own sandwiches with you or order sandwiches ahead of time through the winery. 

Transportation – We rented a limo. It was perfect for the amount of girls we had and you definitely need a designated driver if you are going to go wine tasting in multiple locations. I would plan on having the limo for the whole day. Our limo picked us up around 10/10:30 and we weren’t back at the hotel until around 3 or 4pm.

Saving Money – So wine tasting + limo + the amount your guests are already spending on hotels/transportation to the wedding/your wedding gift can get a little expensive. I am all about saving money if there is an opportunity to so I did some research online and found a few websites that offer coupons. There might even be more out there since I looked last, so do your research.

Favors – It is a nice idea to give your guests a small favor bag. They have after all spent a lot of money giving you a wedding gift, paying for transportation and hotel for the wedding weekend, paid for the bachelorette party, amongst other things. Some great favor ideas include: a snack bar, wine wipes, gum, chapstick, hair ties, a bottle of water, advil, chocolate, and monogramed stemless wine glasses.

Wineries – There are hundreds of wineries in Sonoma, and it can be very hard to narrow down the choices. I would suggest going to 3 -4 wineries for a whole day of touring. For me, I grew up in the area so I wanted to visit wineries I had never been to without driving to far out of Santa Rosa. I had done a lot of research into different locations and in the end we landed on going to Chateau St. Jean, Ledson, and Kunde. All three have beautiful grounds and tasting rooms and amazing wines. Also, they were only about 5-15 mins away from each other so we were spending more time tasting wines and enjoying the wineries than we were driving around.

Chateau St. Jean

This was the first winery on our tour and it might have been my favorite.We arrived around 11am and we had the tasting room all to ourselves which was perfect. The winery and the grounds are beautiful and the wine is fantastic. I highly recommend the Chardonnay (it is one of my favorites). We spent about 45mins – 1 hour tasting a few flights of wine then hopped back in the limo to our next destination.

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Ledson

Growing up in Santa Rosa this winery is infamous. It is the huge brown mansion/castle amongst the vineyards off of Highway 12. In fact it used to be someones personal home before they turned it into a tasting room. I have always wanted to see the inside so I was really excited as we drove up the tree lined drive.  We promptly made our way to the tasting room area and we had a coupon from online for 9 flights of wine so we were ready to start tasting. Not only does Ledson have beautiful garden area complete with a fountain and some oak trees with picnic tables, but they also have a great sandwich and charcuterie shop. This is a great place to grab some lunch and re-fuel for the next part of the day. We spent a few hours here tasting wines and eating our sandwiches under the beautiful, old oak trees.

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Some of the girls at Ledson

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Our 9 flights of wine!

Kunde

This was the last stop on our tour. By the time we arrived at Kunde it was around 2pm and we were starting to feel the wine. Again, this winery has a beautiful tasting room surrounded by gorgeous vineyards. We finished our wine tasting day with a Wine and Chocolate pairing at Kunde. It was the perfect sweet treat to end the day. 

Hope this helps to give you ideas for your own trip to Sonoma, whether it is a romantic getaway, bachelorette party, or fun girls trip. 

P.S. tomorrow is the last day of Wedding Week which means I am sharing my wedding photos! So don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see all the details of my special day.

Thanks for reading!

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Wedding Week: How to DIY Your Wedding

Welcome back, today I’m talking about how to DIY some parts of your wedding. As you may know, weddings are expensive. Like REALLY expensive. Even mentioning the word “wedding” increases the price by 100%! So I have put together a list of things that are easy to save money on or even DIY without compromising the look and feel of an elegant event.

Guest Book Table Decor

This is one of the easiest things to save money on through DIY projects. Our wedding location was at a winery in Sonoma, CA, so I wanted a rustic glam feel to the whole day. With some creativity and a lot of pinterest, I was able to create some really great pieces.

Wine Cork Initial

The first piece I created was our last name initial made out of wine corks. I new I wanted to include corks somewhere in the decor (we were at a winery of course), but I didn’t want it to look kitschy. I found a font that I liked and hand drew it onto a piece of card board. Next I hot glued the corks that had been saved up onto the letter. We displayed this on the guest book table and I think it really added a nice touch. What is even better about this piece is now we have it hanging in our house above our bar cart.

     Materials

  • Cardboard or Wooden Letter from craft store
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun
  • Lots of Corks

guest book table

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Guest Book

Also speaking of guest book table, I created my own guest book with Shutterfly. It was a super easy process in which I used a pre-made layout and added my own engagement pictures. They have several layouts to choose from with different themes and color schemes to match the feel and look of your wedding. I feel that this give a much more personal touch to my guest book and my guests loved signing in it.

After we received our wedding pictures back from our photographer, I also used Shutterfly to create a wedding photo album, which was much less expensive and prettier than the one the photographer was offering.

 Signs

I created all of the signs at my wedding from the dinner buffet and dessert table menus, to the signs telling people where to go or where to sit, or a thank you note I typed up for people to read at the guest book signing table. This was a simple and easy way to save money. 

      Materials

  • Paper
  • Picture Frames or Chalkboards (You can find inexpensive ones at the craft store or Goodwill)
  • Fonts from online – I download all of mine from here

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Aisle Decorations

I really wanted something down the aisle to line the path of chairs that we could put flowers in. So I came up with the idea of doing mason jars hanging from hooks spaced out down the aisle. My mom and my sister helped me collect all the materials, and they turned out perfect.

     Materials

  • Mason Jars
  • Hooks that stick in the ground (Check the hardware store or craft store)
  • Spray paint
  • Pliers and Wire (We used pliers to wrap the wire around the top of the jar and make a handle so they would hang nicely from the ground hooks)

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Favors

Favors are super easy to create and a home made favor adds a nice touch and really makes the gift feel personal.

For my favors we made bags of hugs and kisses candies that said “Hugs and Kisses from the Mr. and Mrs.” They were super cute and were a great little sweet treat at the end of the night. If you are really creative and good at cooking some other great favor ideas include baking small hand pies or cookies, making jam or this creative DIY of making a smores mix.

Fun Extras

Photo Booth

Photo booths are a fun way for guests to let loose and take something home to remind them of the special day they shared with you. Finding props is super easy and there are endless creative possibilities.

     Materials

  • Boas/Big Sunglasses/Bead Necklaces from the party store
  • Paper, a printer, and small wooden sticks from the craft store (Instantly downloadable props)
  • Empty Picture Frame

Corn Hole

If you (or your hubby-to-be) are really talented you could take a stab at making a personalized corn hole set complete with 2 boards and small bean bags (love this one). Also, this is something you could definitely use after the wedding for parties and backyard get togethers.

Giant Jenga

I think this looks like a super fun garden game and can definitely keep your guests busy while you and your bridal party are busy taking pictures. Find a great DIY here with instructions.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you some great ideas of things to DIY for your wedding. Let me know in the comments below if you have a favorite or if you have another great DIY idea. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Wedding Week: Gifts

Hey All. Thanks for following along for this special Wedding Week. I hope you are enjoying it so far. Today I’m talking about gifts. With weddings there are lots of gifts involved, especially if you are in the wedding party. So let’s first talk about all the different wedding related occasions and parties and acceptable gifts.

If you are a Guest

If you are invited to multiple events for one wedding (i.e. Engagement Party, Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Party, and Wedding) then you should get a gift for every event. However, that being said, you don’t have to be big, expensive gifts for each event. I would recommend you set up a budget and divide it up between the events, saving the biggest portion of that budget for the main wedding gift.

If you are in the wedding party, you are already shelling out a lot of money to fund all the expenses that go along with the title of bridesmaid or maid of honor (hotels, transportation, dresses, gifts, etc). For this reason, I think it is ok to not go over board on your gifting budget. There are tons of great gifts that won’t break the bank, and usually a couple will register for a range of products at different prices. You are sure to find something that falls within your budget.

Engagement Party

This is the kick off to what will be the couple’s new life together. If you are very close with the couple you can get them a small fun gift to mark the occasion. However, knowing that there will be other events to shortly follow I would recommend spending the least amount of your budget on this gift. Below are some ideas for a sweet “Congratulations on your Engagement” gift.

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“He liked it so he put a ring on it” Mug / “Future Mrs” Headband / “Mrs” Earrings / Ban.do Sweet Talk Pen Set / Kate Spade Ring Dish / Baublerella Bling Brush / “To do before I do” Notepad / Brides Magazine

Bridal Shower

The first rule of buying a gift for the couple is that it is best to buy from the wedding registry. The couple has spent a lot of time picking and choosing exactly what they want in their home to start their new life together. Other gift ideas include gift cards to one of the stores on their registry, cash for their honeymoon or to put towards a down payment on a house, or a home made gift. If you are going the home made gift route, make sure you know the bride and groom really well and can make something top notch (not a pinterest project gone wrong).

For the Bridal Shower, if you are buying multiple gifts you should be spending a smaller portion of your budget on this gift. I love bundling themed gifts together so some ideas might be a “kitchen starter” gift, a “movie night at home” gift, or a “honeymoon” gift. See below for some fun ideas. 

Bridal Shower Gift

Kitchen Starter Kit: Anthropologie “Love” Dish Towel / 5 Piece Kitchen Tool Set / Newlywed Cookbook

For the Honeymoon Gift: Ban.do Cooler Beach Bag / Monogram Drink Sand Spike / Underwater Camera / Initial Beach Towel

Movie Night at Home Gift: Snack Bowls / Popcorn / iTunes gift card to rent movies / Candy

Bachelorette Party

Generally a Bachelorette Party gift entails something to be used on the wedding night or on the honeymoon. Again, this should be a small portion of your budget. Before you buy make sure you know the Bride’s size. Sometimes whoever is sending out the Bachelorette party invite will include the Bride’s bra and underwear size to make it a no brainer when choosing your gift. If you don’t know, just ask. It’s better to get her something she will love and be able to wear. Also, if you feel uncomfortable buying lingerie or a bra and underwear, a robe and some slippers or some nice lotions or candles make great gifts too. Below are some of my favorite ideas for Bachelorette Party gifts. 

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Pink Babydoll Lingerie / UGG Slippers / Hanky Panky Thong Set / “I Do” Thong / Black Lace Bodysuit / Jo Malone Lotion / Voluspa Candle Set / Honeydew Intimates Bra and Panties / Floral Robe / “Taken” Sleep Shirt

Wedding Gift

If the couple does not live where the wedding is taking place, it is better to send the gift to their address instead leaving at the gift table. This way the couple won’t have to spend the money shipping, especially since they most likely will be departing for their honeymoon immediately following their big day.

It is best to send the wedding gift to the new couple at least 2 months before the wedding. That way you know it will get to them in time and it will get to them before the stressful time before the wedding festivities begin. 

If you are a Bride

If you are the Bride, don’t forget to give a gift to the members of your bridal party and your parents. These people are so special to you that they are helping you out on your most special day; and chances are your parents have helped pay for the big event as well. So don’t forget to show your appreciation with something special.

For my wedding, I gave a gift to my bridesmaids on the day of my wedding that included a personalized wine glass, orange juice and champagne for mimosas, a diamond ring wine bottle stopper, some lip gloss and a bracelet. However, I also gave them a CD with pictures of them from my wedding once I received all of my wedding pictures back from my photographer.

Some other fun gift ideas for the bridal party are small clutches, anything with a monogram (jewelry, bag, wine glass, etc.), a trinket or ring dish, or a framed picture of the two of you from the wedding with a special note.

As a special gift to my sister, who was my maid of honor, I gave her a beautiful Kate Spade Bracelet. This was the perfect way to say thank you to her for helping me in the planning process.

For my parents I gave them each a glass (wine glass for my Mom, beer glass for my Dad) that said “I survived by daughters wedding”. I also gave my dad a special picture frame of the two of us with a quote that I liked. These gifts were much more personal because, let’s be honest there is no way I will ever show them my gratitude for raising me and helping me coordinate the best day of my life. I also gave both our parents (and my grandmother) a wedding album after I received my photos back from my photographer. They loved it!!

Thanks for reading. What was your favorite wedding gift that you have either given or received? Let me know in the comments below.

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Wedding Week: Summer Date Night Ideas

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Hey Everyone. So since it is our 2nd wedding anniversary tomorrow I thought I would mark the occasion with a whole week of wedding related topics and to end the week I am going to share our wedding pictures for the FIRST TIME EVER!! So keep tuning in every day for new and fun wedding related pictures, tips, ideas and even some DIYs that I used at my own wedding.

So to start off the week I thought I would round up a list of fun date night things to do. ** Also I am living vicariously through this list right now as he is literally taking the Bar Exam on our anniversary. :(

The best thing I have learned is that you have to keep life interesting. By having a date night at least once a week it is a good way to mix it up a little bit and not get weighed down in the mundane of ordinary life. Sometimes it can be hard to keep thinking of new ideas of date nights, so I have come up with a list of fun things to do together.

Take a cooking class – We both love cooking and trying new recipes. Taking a cooking class is a great way to get out of the house and try something new together. Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table have some really great options if you locations close to you, otherwise you can google some great options near you.

Go to a food festival – with the warm weather comes some great opportunities for snacking on some yummy delights at a food festival. We like to get lots of little things as to try as many different options as possible. From Greek to Seafood to BBQ, there are so many different types of great food out there to try.

Watch a movie outside or on the beach – Summer is the perfect time to spend as much time outdoors as possible. More and more cities are offering FREE movies outside or even on the beach. Check your local listings and grab your beach blanket and head out for a movie. If this isn’t an option, dinner and a movie is a classic date night and you can never go wrong with this combo.

Go to a sporting event – gather up all of your friends, grab some food and beer and go tailgating then cheer on your favorite sports team. 

Have a picnic – this is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. Take advantage of the late summer sunsets and pack a picnic dinner. We love picking up some sandwiches and eating dinner at the beach; listening to the birds and the waves and enjoying the sunset and each other’s company is very relaxing.

Try a new restaurant – what better time than the present to try that restaurant you have always wanted to go to. Don’t have a restaurant in mind? Is there a type of food you have never tried? Recently my husband and I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and it was so much fun to experience a new culture/cuisine together. Don’t have a lot of restaurant options? Try cooking a new recipe or type of ethnic cuisine at home (it’s not as difficult as you might think).

Try a new outdoor activity – We love to do activities outdoors whether it is paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, or even zip lining; there are endless possibilities.

Take a staycation or drive to a town nearby that you haven’t explored yet – I find it so fun to explore somewhere new; and why not do that in your own backyard so to speak. There are a million little towns that are just waiting to be explored, and who knows you could find a new restaurant or shop that you will fall in love with! There is a town nearby that is known for it’s little antique stores that I am just itching to explore; so this is definitely on the list of things to do. Also, if you take a staycation check out Groupon,  Living Social or Homeaway for an inexpensive place to stay for a day or two.

Wine and Paint Night – More and more places are offering this kind of fun class where you can explore your artsy side while sipping on some good wine. 

Wander around a book store – We both love to do a little late night book shopping. To me there is something so comforting about grabbing a coffee or hot chocolate after dinner while perusing some new summer reads.

Hope you enjoyed this list. Do you have a favorite date night activity? Leave a comment below! I would love for more creative ideas.

Thanks for reading.

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